For Immediate Release—Thursday, September 20, 2001
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General John Ashcroft and the United States Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced grants totaling $98.4 million to add 832 additional police officers to walk beats in the nation's schools. These grants go to 288 law enforcement agencies from cities and towns in 48 states and protectorates.
Today's grants were awarded under the COPS in Schools program, which funds the hiring of community policing officers assigned to schools. The grants provide a maximum of $125,000 for the salary and benefits of each new officer over three years. COPS also provides school safety training for the officer and an administrator from the school where the officer will be assigned.
These officers are known as School Resource Officers (SRO), and are sworn law enforcement officers who become permanently assigned to a school or school system. While the specific activities of the SRO are determined by the unique needs of the school and the community they serve, their primary role is to safeguard students by providing a law enforcement presence on campus. Many SROs also teach crime prevention and substance abuse classes, serve as coaches, monitor and counsel troubled students, and ultimately build respect and understanding between law enforcement and students.
"This program has been very successful. The demand from state and local law enforcement agencies for these resources continues to grow," said COPS' director Carl R. Peed. "As recently publicized acts of school violence have shown us, there is no substitute for the level of deterrence and early intervention that can be achieved by an officer working directly in and with a school."
Including today's grants, the COPS in Schools Program has provided $507.5 million to fund and train more than 4,509 SROs.